Spartans cap regular season with win

MSU finishes undefeated at home and in conference play with 14-3 win against Minnesota.

Michigan State has a pair of undefeated Big Ten seasons to its name, but Saturday's 14-3 win against Minnesota brought a new level.

With its 8-0 conference record, it marked the first time with eight conference wins in school history – and that was just the start of what the win meant for Michigan State.

"I'm very proud of our football team," coach Mark Dantonio said. "Forty wins in four years. Eleven wins this year. You are going to have some games you've gotta reach back and scratch and dig for things and we were able to do that today. …

"7-0 at home for the third time in four years. 8-0 in the conference, which is the first time that's ever been done. 11-1. Third time we've won 11 games in three years. Not too many football programs in the country can say those things."

The Spartans also became the first time since the Big Ten expanded to 10 teams in 1953 to win all its conference games by double digits – just a year removed from losing five games by 13 points.

The win against Minnesota was the lowest margin of victory in the eight wins and it was much a credit to Minnesota's defense as it was the Spartans' lackluster offensive showing.

"Probably not a championship performance from us offensively," offensive coordinator Dave Warner said. "Hats off to Minnesota's defense, we knew they were a good defense coming in. They really didn't do anything we didn't expect. They obviously packed the box and tried to prevent us from running the football."

Facing a run-stopping defense, running back Jeremy Langford still posted his seventh straight 100-yard rushing game.

The junior went over the 100-yard mark with a 44-yard run in the fourth quarter.

"It's exciting and it's a dream come true," Langford said. "It's something I never thought about at the beginning of the season. It's happening and it's unbelievable."

Langford got the Spartans off to a quick start when he keyed an 80-yard drive and finished it with a 15-yard touchdown run – his 16th of the season.

The Spartans didn't get in the end zone against until the start of the second half, when Connor Cook hit tight end Josiah Price for a 12-yard score and the winning 14-3 margin.

Michigan State's defense forced three turnovers – two interceptions coming from Trae Waynes – and came up big in the red zone.

The Gophers' biggest threat of the day came when they faked a punt to extend a drive deep into MSU territory. With a second down at the MSU 1-yard line, Denicos Allen stuffed running back David Cobb and Mark Scarpinato batted down the third-down pass for force a field goal – Minnesota's only points of the day.

It was the fifth time in six games that an MSU opponent didn't get in the end zone and the sixth time in 12 games total.

Now, the attention turns to Ohio State and the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis next weekend, but not immediately.

"We've done some background things, but we need to be fresh," Dantonio said. "We need to be fresh as a program, fresh as coaches, fresh as players. We will just take this and we have plenty of time to find out who they are and who we are relative to that. We will get ready to play."

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